Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

Today is

James B. Kuehl

On May 11, 2021 we lost a beloved, irascible member of our community, James B. Kuehl.  Jim was a friend, counselor, support person, dog trainer, and all-around good guy, as comfortable in jeans and t-shirt as he was in the lawyerly suit and tie he wore in his day job. His interests were eclectic: He had an amazing memory for quotes, happily reciting Shakespeare alongside Robert Service. He played the clarinet until the guitar seduced him. He was a rabid fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” And he was one half of Poker Flat Kennel, nationally known for their beautiful, versatile Alaskan Malamutes. He and Robin trained these amazing animals for showing, obedience, agility, rally, tracking, weight-pulling, dog-sledding, and therapy. Jim was one of the founders of the Dog Training Club of Champaign Urbana and taught classes there until his illness made that impossible.  Over the years Jim also served on the Board of the Champaign County Humane Society and the Alaskan Malamute Club of America. 
Whether he was helping a dog owner work through a complicated problem with a dog, representing one of Champaign’s miscreants, or amusing folks with puns, he could be counted on to be there for you, to be honest and forthright, to do the best job possible, and quite possibly to provide a giggle in the process. He was a wonderful writer and wrote monthly for the Alaskan Malamute newsletter and created a unique and humorous invitation to the monthly Sub-lawyer’s lunch.

Jim was born May 30, 1947 in Chicago, Illinois, the oldest son of Warren Kuehl and Marilyn Shank Kuehl. He graduated the valedictorian of his class from Thornton Fractional North high school in Calumet City, Illinois in 1965, earned a Bachelor of Science at the University of Illinois in 1969 and his law degree from the U of I in 1974 . He began his law career at the Public Defender's Office then worked with Tom Bruno for several years and went back to the Public Defender's office, retiring in 2016. 

Jim is survived by his wife, Robin, his brothers, Thomas Kuehl (MaryJo), Gerald Kuehl (Cari) and Kenneth Kuehl (Christine) and several nephews and nieces. 

There will be a celebration of Jim’s life from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on August 14, 2021 at the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana, 2210 E. Ford Harris Rd., Urbana, Illinois.

Donations in Jim’s memory may be made to the Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana, P.O. Box 17076, Urbana, IL 61803 or the Champaign County Humane Society, 1911 E Main St., Urbana, IL 61802.

Condolences to the family may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.



My heart goes out to you on your loss. Although Jim and I have not been close in the time after High School, he will always be a very dear friend. It was Jim who coined the nickname "Greeny" when we were in grade school. I still use it to this day in my email address ([email protected]).  

I wish I could be at the Memorial Service but I am officiating at a wedding that day. Know that my thoughts and prayers will be with you and all Jim's family that day. Jim was a special friend during our days growing up in Calumet City and when I remember him it will cause me to smile.

God bless!

—Rev. Laurence "Greeny" Greenwold


Jim and I were classmates beginning in first grade right thru high school. He was always the clever one in the bunch. He had the ideas that started the project whatever it was. He was the creativity that brought out the talent in the rest of us.

To paraphrase slightly— 
Jim was the sharpest tool in the drawer. His enthusiasm for life will surely be missed. I wish I had the chance to tell him how I feel.

—Kenneth Walter


Wishing Healing and Peace for Robin and all the Family. The Dog Training Club of Champaign-Urbana was truly fortunate for Jim's time, effort, skill and knowledge. He is missed.

—Janice Kozak


Jim was a mentor, co-conspirator and a valued member of the bar. Our work on a death penalty case in 1998 was a formative time for me, and a gateway to a treasury of information. I wish he were with us longer, but I’m glad he was here.

My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

—Kevin Nolan